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Metrum Acoustics drop M2Tech as USB OEM, announce new module

  • You might know that some OS X audiophiles moving up to Mavericks witnessed an unpleasant side effect of the OS upgrade: M2Tech’s HiFace v1 driver no longer worked. M2Tech promised to write a new one quick smart but six months down the line they have yet to deliver on that promise. That’s frustrating for anyone with the original HiFace USB converter or anyone using a DAC with an OEM HiFace USB inside.

    One such company affected by this minor fiasco is Cees Rujtenberg’s Metrum Acoustics. Both his Hex and Octave MKII DACs shipped with M2Tech’s OEM USB tech. However, it seems Rujtenberg has grown sick of waiting for M2Tech to come through so he’s introducing a second generation USB implementation for both the Hex and Octave MKII:

    “Up until now both the Octave MKII and Hex DACs Metrum Acoustics used an OEM USB implementation made by M2tech. Since the launch of the Mavericks OS, however, the driver supplied by M2tech was instantly outdated. Although M2tech has undertaken the task to develop a new driver that would work with Mavericks, after several months with no news it was too risky to wait even longer. Metrum Acoustics recently decided to develop a new USB interface. Given that both the Octave MKII and Hex DACs were designed to work in conjunction with the M2tech OEM board, finding a solid replacement was not an easy process. A solution was found by using Anamero technology with some additional glue logic to get all necessary data for both Octave MKII and Hex DACs. Also, the form was adapted in such a way so that the new board is directly applicable for the existing hardware.”, explains Rujtenberg.

    Metrum_Second_Gen_USB_1

    He continues: “In contrast to the existing two layer designs from  both M2tech and Anamero a four level multilayer is used. Two layers are assigned for data handling. The chosen approach  will give lower induction due to shorter traces and gives less radiation. A third layer is used as ground plane while the fourth layer  is dedicated for power.  A power breakout is realized for implementing passive power filtering as used in the Octave MKII or the ability to use a separate power source instead of using USB power as used in the Hex DAC. In addition, very high quality clock oscillators are used to get Jitter at the lowest possible level. Furthermore, no driver is required for both Mavericks or Linux.  For Windows XP, 7 or 8 a driver is available.”

    I asked if existing Mavericks-frustrated Metrum users could get some of this new Anamero USB action?

    “That information will follow as I need the correct production price of the production plant. Especially those who purchased this DAC recently will have the opportunity to upgrade for a special price. It should be more easy as both interfaces were on the same quality level then it was a matter of swapping but as mentioned we put a lot of effort to the design to bring it on a higher level.”, was the reply.

    The second generation USB interface is currently in production and will be available late April / early May.

    Further information: Metrum Acoustics

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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